Grandview's Addison O'Grady named 2021 girls Freddie Steinmark Award winner

Grandview Arapahoe girls basketball

(Steve Abeyta/steveabeytaphotography.com)

Addison O’Grady is appreciative of opportunities to compete with her teammates and interact with friends and classmates. The past year of COVID restrictions has taught us to not take these opportunities for granted. Who would have thought that a sports season could be canceled before the champion was crowned? Who would have thought that classroom activities would become virtual sessions with participants showing up on computer screens in rows of little boxes?

Well, Addison O’Grady, Grandview High School’s outstanding dual-sport athlete, knows all to well that this has been part of life as a high school athlete due to COVID. Her 2020 basketball season was left unfulfilled as the championship game was canceled before she and her Grandview Wolves teammates could tip-off against Cherry Creek. This was a lost opportunity to represent her school and make memories with her teammates.

A recruiting “trip” to Iowa City, Iowa to meet the Iowa Hawkeye basketball coaching staff became a Zoom meeting for one of the top-50 basketball recruits in the country. This was an opportunity lost to get to know her future coaches and teammates at one of the top universities in the country.

So, when Addi has had the opportunity to put on her Grandview uniform, she has made the most of it. Four trips to the Final Four in basketball and three state tournament appearances in volleyball have been opportunities to display her outstanding talent. Talent that has placed her on multiple All-State teams in both basketball and volleyball and made her one of the top high school basketball players in the country.

But Addison does not want to be boxed in like a Zoom meeting. She found it important to not just be a great basketball player, but to add more dimensions to her life in and out of athletics. In her Steinmark nomination letter Addi wrote that she has “…always strived to be more than just an athlete because I am more than an athlete. Often athletes are put in boxes, forced to specialize in one sport, told that they don’t need to worry about academics as much as athletics, or don’t make meaningful connections with people, but this award and Steinmark’s character and legacy are proof that athletes can have dimension. Athletes are more and should be expected to be more than just athletes.” Her basketball coach, Josh Ulitzky, echoed this sentiment by saying that “Addison took pride in putting on her Grandview High School uniforms and excelled at a level not matched by many young woman athletes, especially at 5A schools.”

Taking advantage of learning opportunities has also been important to Addison. Math teacher John Schultz commented that Addison “….could have chosen to take it easy in math during her senior year, yet she has shown great dedication in taking Calculus III and Differential Equations, which will prepare her for any mathematics and engineering curriculum she will encounter in college.”

Addison is already becoming familiar with college encounters as she took a call earlier this week from Dan Watkins, Colorado High School Coaches Association President, while in a dorm room on the University of Iowa campus during a break from basketball camp workouts. Addison was thrilled to learn about receiving the 2021 Steinmark Award and was thankful for the support her family, coaches, teammates, teachers, and classmates had shown during her high school career. Addison said she learned to not take anything for granted and to make the most of the opportunities she is presented with. She added that some of the COVID-restrictions allowed her to become closer with her teammates at Grandview and allowed her to share experiences and traditions with her younger Grandview teammates that she hopes will benefit them in the future.

Addison will also take her genuine interest in helping others with her to Iowa City. Addison spent many hours of community service while in high school assisting patients at Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, and veterans at the VA Hospital in Aurora. This is yet another dimension to an outstanding young person that is proud to carry on the Freddie Steinmark legacy.

The Steinmark Award was established in 1972 and honors Freddie Steinmark, who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball while attending Wheat Ridge High School in the 1960s. He was also an outstanding student and was active in several school and community-oriented endeavors before attending the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns to the national football title in 1969. Freddie died from cancer in 1971 at the age of 22. Students athletes nominated for the award must be seniors who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 and participated in at least two varsity sports, having earned at least All-Conference in one sport and All-State in another.

Addison is the 49th winner of the girls Steinmark Award since it was first presented to girls in 1974. The first girl to win the Steinmark Award was Anne Vento of Pueblo Centennial in 1974. There were two winners of the award in 1984. Dave Logan of Wheat Ridge High School, and now the extremely well-known sports announcer for the Denver Broncos and other sports endeavors, was the first boys’ winner of the award in 1972.

In 2020, Emily Cavey of Berthoud received the girls’ Steinmark and Caleb Rillos of Ralston Valley was the recipient for the boys.

Finalists for the 2021 Steinmark Award: Rylee Crouch, Horizon; Kendyl Kirkwood, Fleming; Kylie Kravig, University; and Kendyl MacAskil, Palisade.